Week 4 NFL Takeaways | Fantasy Football 2023

by Tyler Knaeble · Analytics & Advanced Metrics

A high scoring Week 4 of the NFL season provided confirmation on some assumptions we had made thus far. In other words, some of these guys are who we thought they were, and we left them in our lineup! This is Week 4 NFL Takeaways! 

But before we get into the heavy hitting takes, here are the “I have to at least mention it” takeaways:

Honorable Mentions:

-We were right last week, C.J. Stroud and the Texans pass catchers are solid weekly plays in your lineups.

-We were right again last week. Desmond Ridder cannot lead Pitts and London to success.

-CMC should have been the 1.01

Khalil Herbert out-touched Roschon Johnson 22-6. Roschon SZN is still on hold. 

De’Von Achane looked a lot better than Raheem Mostert and got the goal line touchdown.  

Quentin Johnston is not him, for real. 

Now let’s dive into the meat of what really matters this week!

Takeaway No. 1: Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars Are Still Alarmingly “Mid” 

The Jaguars offensive struggles seem to have flown under the radar over these first four weeks. 

Since scoring 31 points in Week 1 against the Colts, the Jaguars offense has put up just 17 points in three straight weeks. In turn, Lawrence and some of his weapons have been disappointing to say the least.

Here are the big names and their averages over that span:

Trevor Lawrence: 37 attempts, 234 passing yards, 2 TD, 1 INT

Calvin Ridley: 2.3 receptions, 36.6 yards, 1TD

Christian Kirk: 7.6 receptions, 82.6 yards, 1TD

Evan Engram: 6.6 receptions, 61 yards, 0TD

Travis Etienne: 20 touches, 84 total yards, 1 TD

What I’m gathering from those numbers is that the volume isn’t the problem for these guys, excluding Ridley. The problem is the overall efficiency and explosiveness that we saw last year is not what we are getting this year. 

Only three TDs in three games from all of these weapons is not going to get it done over the course of the season. Especially when you consider where you took most of these guys in your drafts. 

I’m not saying you absolutely need to trade these guys off your team, but fielding some offers never hurt anyone! In soccer (or futbol) terms, I’m looking at this situation with a yellow card in hand. I don’t want to reach in my back pocket and offer Calvin Ridley for Romeo Doubs, but if I have to I will. 

Takeaway No. 2: Trade Terry McLaurin.

We saw arguably Sam Howell‘s best game of the season in the overtime loss against the Eagles. Howell finished with a stat line of 29/41, 330 total yards and a TD. This is great for Howell. However, in a game where Howell played so well, Terry McLaurin finished with eight catches for 86 yards and a “fumble recovery TD.” 

It’s not a bad final box score from McLaurin, but it was his best game this season by far which in itself is alarming. Through four games, Mclaurin is averaging just 5.3 catches for 53 yards and has 2 TDs (including the fumble recovery.)  

Situation Matters

It’s not so much that McLaurin is a bad player because I full-heartedly believe if you dropped this guy in Kansas City, he would be a top 15 scoring wide receiver. However, the reality is Sam Howell is his quarterback, and Terry McLaurin isn’t going to fall on a fumble for a touchdown every week.

At this point, Terry McLaurin might as well be starring in the newest Groundhog Day film. This is because we have seen over and over again just how this story ends. Alex Smith, Taylor Heinicke, Carson Wentz, Sam Howell, they are all the same!

The guys before Howell couldn’t maintain this type of consistency, and considering what we’ve seen through five starts, it would be silly to think Howell is going to be any different. 

Therefore, if you can flip McLaurin while his 22-point PPR performance is fresh in people’s minds, I would definitely do it.

Takeaway No. 3: It’s Officially Time to Bench Joe Burrow

I don’t know if it’s the calf, the missed training camp time, or if the football gods just hate Joe Burrow and the Bengals. Whatever the case, until we are proven otherwise, you cannot start Joe Burrow and expect to win your matchup. 

This was the final straw for me personally with Joe Burrow. This is because coming into this game, Tennessee had allowed the No. 5-most passing yards to opponents. This should have been an absolute “Bombs Away Air Raid” from Burrow. But no, Burrow finished 20/30 for 165 yards and ZERO TDs in a 3-27 loss. 

Not only that, but outside of Ja’Marr Chase‘s seven catches for 73 yards, which for him is a suspect statline, every other Bengals player was unplayable.

Going forward, Tee Higgins is expected to miss some time with a rib injury, Joe Mixon looks like he’s running in molasses, and Burrow’s calf injury isn’t going to get any better. I don’t know how you can start Burrow or anyone not named Ja’Marr Chase with a clear conscience.  

At this point, I’d much rather start guys like C.J. Stroud, Jared Goff, even Joshua Dobbs. Trust me, I also can’t believe I just said to start Joshua Dobbs over Joe Burrow either. It makes me want to cry.  

Takeaway No. 4: Jahmyr Gibbs Isn’t Taking Over The Lions Backfield Anytime Soon. 

If you are a Jahmyr Gibbs owner in redraft, it’s not going to get better in the foreseeable future. In the three games David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs have played in together, Gibbs is averaging about 11.6 touches per game. Over that same time span, David Montgomery is averaging 24 touches per game. 

Now, if you replaced the name Jahmyr Gibbs with a rookie like Tank Bigsby, the fantasy community would probably be somewhat excited about that kind of snap share from a rookie. But because Gibbs was drafted No. 12 overall, and he does look pretty good when he touches the ball, fantasy managers are in absolute outrage and are calling for Dan Campbell’s head! 

That would be great, but the facts are the Lions are 3-1 and have a top 10 scoring offense in the league. It’s not the Lions fault Gibbs isn’t servicing your fantasy team.

This Backfield is Set

Going forward, I don’t see how the backfield situation changes given the success they have had to start the season. That being said, I do think Jahmyr Gibbs will have a little more “luck” fall his way as the season progresses. 

Gibbs doesn’t have a TD yet (I expect that to change soon), and he’s still in one of the best offenses with a play caller in Ben Johnson. So, I expect things to get better for Jahmyr Gibbs in the coming weeks, but he’s not taking over this backfield as long as David Montgomery is healthy and on the roster. 

Depending on who owns Jahmyr Gibbs in your league, I think he’s a sneaky trade target if you can pry him away for a disgruntled manager for low cost.